Background: Children who experience Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) are at an increased risk of becoming a victim of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) or a perpetrator of IPV or CAN. Moreover, maltreated children are at risk for developing long-lasting trauma symptoms, which can subsequently affect their own children's lives. Understanding the mechanisms of the intergenerational transmission of violence and trauma is a prerequisite for the development of interventions. Objective: We examine whether the relation between historical CAN and current trauma symptoms of mothers is mediated by current IPV. Furthermore, we investigate whether current CAN mediates the relation between current maternal trauma symptoms and child Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. These mechanisms are compared for mothers and fathers. Participants: We have recruited 101 fathers and 360 mothers (426 children, 50% boys, mean age 7 years) through child protection services. Methods: Respondents completed questionnaires about IPV, (historical) CAN and trauma symptoms. Results: Structural equation models revealed that historical CAN of father and mothers was related to trauma symptoms. Only for mothers, this association was mediated by IPV. Trauma symptoms of both fathers and mothers were related to child PTSD symptoms. This effect was not mediated by current CAN. Conclusion: In violent families, maternal and paternal trauma can be transmitted over generations. However, intergenerational transmission of violence is found for mothers only. When family violence is reported, professionals should take the violence into account, as well as the history of parents and trauma symptoms of all family members.

, , , ,,
Child Abuse and Neglect
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Lünnemann, M.K.M. (M. K.M.), Horst, F.C.P.V.D. (F.C.P. Van der), Prinzie, P., Luijk, M., & Steketee, M. (M.). (2019). The intergenerational impact of trauma and family violence on parents and their children. Child Abuse and Neglect, 96. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104134